HOW’s Sixth Annual Logo Design Competition and Awards put an incredible number of stunning logo designs in front of judge Dave Gouveia, leading industry professional and designer and co-author of Creative Stuff: An Activity Book for Visual Thinkers.
Gouveia had such a tough time narrowing it down to just ten winning logos in his judging process that we decided to award two honorable mentions this year, in addition to a Reader’s Choice Best of Show chosen by the readers of HOWdesign.com. The Reader’s Choice Best of Show will be featured in an upcoming issue of HOW magazine.
Reader’s Choice Best of Show: Oxlot 9
Designer/Firm: Ideogram, Birmingham, AL
Creative Team: Brian Authement
Project Description:This Brand Identity is for Oxlot 9, an upscale, Southern, seafood restaurant in Covington, Louisiana. The restaurant is located in a unique area of town called the “oxlots,” which are set on a diamond pattern. The Oxlot 9 logo is a fish and a nine. The scales of the fish mimic the diamond shaped city blocks of the oxlots. The hand-drawn “etching” style speaks to the classic nature of the restaurant and to the history of the area. This logo is inspired by the beauty of the gulf coast, and the history of Covington, LA.
Judge’s Comments: The hidden concepts that went into this logo amaze me. And I say that because I’m usually not a fan of cramming too many ideas into one … but the fish alone speaks to 1) seafood 2) the geographic location of the restaurant (diamond pattern) 3) evoking of a historical time period and lastly 4) the number 9. So with all these ideas in there, it still managed to be uncluttered and interesting. Very well done.
Featured Voter’s Comment: The logo for Oxlot 9 is powerful in its simplicity, elegance, and attention to detail. It is a beautiful, effective, memorable piece. —Anonymous
Designer/Firm: 1TARGET, Miami
Creative Team: Anderson DeLima, Andre Rodrigues, Cindy Forster
Project Description: 1TARGET, a digital production agency where Design is the heart of our Development. Objective: Create a modern logo that would give a high-end feel, with a clever look and elegancy all at the same time. Something with simple lines, but pleasant to look. A logo that could be used in many different formats, and with characteristics that can be used for branding in a playful way.
Judge’s Comments: Graphics in circles don’t always work, but this has that perfect balance. I love the attention to detail on the letterform creation, how the 45-degree angle becomes a visual cue within materials, and the unique pattern reminiscent of houndstooth made by the repeating 1 graphic. Oh, and the business cards are beautiful.
Featured Voter’s Comment: 1Target logo is clean and strong. It will stand the test of time without going out of style. A lot of the other logos seem fussy and not instantly recognizable. Which is a key factor for a logo. —Anonymous
Designer/Firm: Mucca Design, New York
Creative Team: Matteo Bologna, Erica Heitman-Ford
Project Description: Mucca was asked to develop the brand for a farm-to-table restaurant in Princeton, New Jersey. Latin for “farmer,” the name “Agricola” embodies the restaurateur’s commitment to local growers and seasonal produce. Mucca designed four logos, each with a different farm animal sitting on top of the letter ‘A,’ reminiscent of a traditional weather vane. The logos and accompanying botanical illustrations created a flexible system that could change to reflect the seasons.
Judge’s Comments: Identities that swap different icons is nothing new, but this has that wonderful combination of solid and outline that really delivers the one-two punch. The carved wooden feel of the typography provides that subtle feeling of “vintage,” and the simple barn animals integrate seamlessly without looking hokey or cartoony. Throw in a nod to the classic weather vane, and you have a winner.
Featured Voter’s Comment: I voted Agricola because it’s smart, contemporary, memorable, aesthetically pleasing, and the feeling of the logo depicts the brand and the business perfectly.
Designer/Firm: Écorce, Montréal
Creative Team: Julie Ledru, Sophie Pépin, Karl-Frederic Anctil, Rafik Andraos
Project Description: The artistic concept focused on the outline of the letter ‘B,’ containing lines that represent roots and also evokes the leaves of a coffee plant.The creation of the logo was based on calligraphic drawings, where, the ‘B’ outline is the foundation of Berendo’s new visual identity.
In order to highlight the individual characteristics of each coffee product, we used different colors and created different logo interiors. This differentiation is a key element of Berendo’s revamped identity, as it reflects the unique nature of each coffee.
Judge’s Comments: Not many logos out there can mess with themselves but still retain the feel of the original. Almost similar in thought process to a Google doodle, each Berendo product icon works on an individual level, while maintaining brand recognition. While the color palette works great as a differentiator, all the icons would work extremely well in black and white too. Nice, solid mark.
Featured Voter’s Comment: It’s simple and beautiful. At the same time it is very adaptive and recognizable. —Anonymous
Designer/Firm: Brand Architecture Inc., Orlando, FL
Project Description: In creating a new identity for ourselves here at Brand Architecture, we wanted to create a simple yet strong identifiable mark. We ended up with a geometric grid shape that also reads as a ‘B’ and an ‘A.’ The mark is refined with a unpretentious sophistication to it that also hints to our industry in a subtle way. The overall outcome is a mark that is clean and modern but still has a timeless aesthetic—which is exactly the solution aim for in the projects we undertake.
Judge’s Comments: Simple in its delivery, the icon for BA alludes to that initial spark where great ideas start. I imagine intricate patterns growing outward from its MC Escher simplicity, blossoming like circuitry. It’s a nice touch that the BA letters are also subtly integrated. On its own it has the beauty of a simplified Chinese character, and it merges extremely well with the chosen typeface.
Featured Voter’s Comment: The simplicity of the design speaks for itself. It’s modern, clean, and classy. —Anonymous
Designer/Firm: Studio Papa, Perth WA, Australia
Creative Team: Marcus Taylor
Project Description: Dapper Jack is a new hole-in-the-wall café run by bowtie-toting coffee enthusiast Kane Moroney. Kane had a vision for a neighborhood coffee shop serving single origin but without the barista attitude. A hand illustrated word-mark was crafted for Dapper Jack as well as a monogram and stamp for the brand kit. The typography was crafted to be bold and friendly with modest contrast, rounded corners and aged textures for something that touched on Kane’s old fashioned service values, felt just a little bit fancy but a far cry from arrogant.
Judge’s Comments: I like when hand-drawn letterforms are tweaked to make them seamlessly integrate. In Dapper Jack’s case, the flow of the “D” into the “J” is super smooth and doesn’t impact readability at all. The standalone DJ monogram is also quite strong. The identity sets out what it was meant to do—showcase a business that competes with chains providing high-quality style but without the pretention.
Featured Voter’s Comment: The type has a classic, vintage element that is still modern and unique, but more importantly bucks all the current conventions of design. It’s so good. —Love
Designer/Firm: TRÜF, Santa Monica, CA
Creative Team: Adam Goldberg, Monika Kehrer
Project Description: Lela Buttery not only has a unique last name, but she has a unique set of skills to match it: biologist, food educator and organic food sourcer. Her new company needed an identity that played off the Buttery name in a clean, contemporary, bold way while staying away from “butter clichés”. The simple geometric mark acts as a badge of quality and easily applies itself to patterns and icons for future packaging and websites. A set of MOO business cards in buttery colors reinforces Lela’s fun outlook on food and life.
Judge’s Comments: It’s so simple, with a quick visual that you immediately get. Love that the actual person’s name also ties into their professional credentials, and the color palette is fresh and fun. I see the flat 2D icon becoming a great visual catalyst for future items. But I have to say it—I wished those two “T”s were ligatures!
Featured Voter’s Comment: So obvious, but in a great way. It has a sense of humor, and the execution of the design is perfect. After visiting her website, it made even more sense; love it.
Designer/Firm: Works Progress Design, Virginia Beach, VA
Creative Team: Mara Lubell-Shattuck, Kristi Dunlap, Donna Marie Bailey
Project Description: Merzatta is a husband and wife jewelry design team. What makes their work so amazing is that they don’t take the literal approach. Their work is inspired by elements in nature, but ones that aren’t immediately seen; finding joy in hidden treasures. The logo—a sweet pair of squirrels facing each other—speaks to both the connection to nature, and to the couple themselves and the warmth and love they put into every piece. The negative space between them forms the shape of an acorn, a nod to the little discoveries that only come to light when they come together.
Judge’s Comments: Hiding items within letterforms is nothing new, but with Merzatta, the two squirrels coming together to form the acorn while perched on their own “T” trees was exquisite. Knowing the owners pull their inspiration from nature and believe little hidden treasures can only appear when two become one, sealed the deal for me. I love the “R” in that font too!
Featured Voter’s Comment: I voted for Merzatta because it’s a logo that actually manages to tell a story. The squirrels representing the designer couple, the negative space between them suggesting the special things they find in nature…it’s so simple yet says a lot. Plus it’s bold enough to work small or large and simple enough not to compete with the artists’ work. Well done.
Designer/Firm: This is Pacifica, Porto, Portugal
Creative Team: Filipe Mesquita, Pedro Serrão, Pedro Mesquita, Loopa, Valdemar Santos, Tiago Carvalho, Bernardo Fonseca, Raquel Moutinho, José Maria RRA, Francisco Rua, Pedro Ferraz, Miew, Nuno Moreira [N16], Cimbalino Filmes
Project Description: Troll is an identity of another world. Exploiting the power of the client name, a singular and figurative universe is created, with its own personality. A brand character. The client name Felix Trolldenier is unusual, what seemed to him like a disadvantage, it seemed to us an added value, so we abbreviate the name and turn it into a brand. We use typography as a figurative element and give it personality and expression. A logo that is reactive, moody and charismatic. From the use of motion capture technology, it was possible to replicate actual movements and link them to the typography used in the identity, approaching the performance of an actor to a character. In studio and through a set of high-resolution infrared cameras, we recorded and and incorporated in the logo a series of actual behaviors, impossible to replicate in another way. We created a series of graphic options that allow the construction of a character, an emotional figure, while simultaneously deconstructing the idea of monster, making it fun, emotional and real. [See the case video here]
Judge’s Comments: I chose this logo because of its innovation. This could very well be the future of branding where identities become animated entities unto themselves. Once you see the Troll logo in its original form, then view other iterations, the core strength of the brand still exists. Because there is wording involved, you never question that it’s anything but Troll. It’s literally a living logo.
Designer/Firm: Fabio Issao, São Paulo, Brazil
Creative Team: Fabio Issao
Project Description: ViverCidade (Living Cities) is a collective transformation movement for a better living in the cities. A dialogue-based online platform to enhance micro-revolutioners who are currently designing solutions for the urban spaces, in all Brazilian cities, by effectively sharing cases of implementation and best-practices to everyone who’s looking forward to start transforming their surroundings. The design challenge was to create a strong yet generative identity that could fit and embrace the diversity of themes, such as urban mobility, street art, street food, citizenship, education and sports among others.
Judge’s Comments: Two things I love about this logo—first that the concept for the logo itself comes from the idea that urban spaces can be unlocked by anyone to reveal wonderful offerings: art, public spaces, food, etc. in all directions. Second, that in all the variations of the logo, the items have been developed via halftones, so while they look colorful and detailed, they are all only two-color (black plus one). By reducing the photography to halftones, you provide the illusion of color through tints, and have also developed vector graphics from photography, allowing for scaling at any size without losing the integrity of the identity.
Featured Voter’s Comment: The dynamic logo created by Fabio captures everything it needs to capture. The colors are inviting but the combination of imagery and type create a sense of urgency while at the same time, properly representing the issues at hand. —Joe
See all the Reader’s Choice comments here.
Honorable Mention: Daughters of the Queen City
Designer/Firm: Landor, Cincinnati
Creative Team: Valerie Aurilio, Jessie Zettler, Lesley Amann, Lizzy Achten, Kayla Risch, Jenny Garrett, Akshata Wadekar, Paige Strohmaier, Tara Hush, Evangeline Bauerle, Heather Ingram, Eileen Pieczonka, Emily Craig, Mara Proctor
Project Description: Design a museum exhibit that would complement and live along with the “Diana: A Celebration, an exhibition chronicling the life and work of Diana, Princess of Whales” at the Cincinnati Museum Center. Cincinnati is known as “The Queen City.” Inspired by the idea that by virtue of birthright, women of “The Queen City” of Cincinnati are princesses, we came up with our concept: Daughters of the Queen City. The coat of arms “shield” eluded to royalty, strength and tradition. The incorporation of a handwritten/graffiti-inspired logotype juxtaposed a modern irreverent edge. When used in combination together the two elements created a look that was rooted in Diana’s inspiring character but representative of every “Daughter of the Queen City.”
Judge’s Comments: What I like: The organic typography with the coupling of the interchangeable “crown” graphic is quite stunning. The background of how the city is known as a Queen City, the tie-in to the Diana exhibit and the final target being a museum makes it relevant and ties to the community. What I don’t like: The fact that this is an exhibit means it has a shelf life, and for me identities are about things that stick around and have a longevity to bring awareness … unless this was a travelling exhibit, it doesn’t meet that criteria for me. Plus I’m always leery to go with identities that are too “typographic” … it doesn’t really say “brand” to me.
Honorable Mention: Vida Vida
Designer/Firm: Brand Architecture Inc., Orlando, FL
Project Description: Vida Mexican Kitchen y Cantina came to Brand Architecture for a facelift and personality upgrade. Gone are the vanilla serif letterforms and arbitrary color considerations. The first order of business was a name modification. Inspired by the art commonly found on the streets of Mexico and the famed Lucha libre (Mexican Wrestling) scene, the new identity sports a subtle distressing to relay a fun and easy going mindset. “Righteous Mexican” now flanks the identity to further reinforce the anything-goes atmosphere. “Vida Vida!” is something visitors can now hear yelled in celebration. Vida Vida is located in downtown Charlotte, NC.
Judge’s Comments: What I like: A fresh take on Mexican food … playing off of the wrestling aspect versus the standard look provides a great base to work with … especially from a color-palette standpoint. The mark works great in both horizontal and vertical, is adaptable to a stamp-like version, and I like the singular “V” icon too. What I don’t like: The tagline font is different in two versions (specifically the word “righteous”) … Perhaps this is a stylistic thing, but there have been other logos that I didn’t choose that did the same thing—had an element that changed—and while I think this approach can work, I don’t understand why it was done here.
Want to see even more cool logo designs? Check out the impressive logo work from these previous Logo Design Competition winners: